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Verstappen’s floor damage cost him 100 points of downforce

Max Verstappen was told the floor damage caused by his run across the Copse gravel trap in Q1 for Formula 1’s British Grand Prix robbed him of 100 downforce points.

Amid the threat of a rain shower in the opening segment of qualifying, Verstappen had been pushing hard on slicks when he hit a damp patch at Copse – pitching him off the circuit and through the gravel.

Although he was able to keep going and recovered to get through each segment to end up fourth on the grid, his RB20 had picked up damage on the underside which robbed him of performance.

Asked if the team had informed him of how much downforce had been lost, Verstappen said: “Initially it was 100 [points], which is a lot. We got it down a little bit, but it was a lot.”

While there is no exact correlation between the loss of downforce points and lap time, it is generally viewed that 10 points is equal to around 0.1 seconds. In that case, 100 points could be worth up to one second.

Verstappen said the incident at Copse had been down to him being in the wrong place at the wrong time as the rain came down.

“Q1, that off was super unlucky,” he said. “I came out of Turn 7 heading towards Copse and it started to rain. So, I knew that the people in front of me didn’t have that rain patch and, of course, they were on slicks.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

“I knew in Q1 we needed that slick lap in, because you never know if it is going to rain more and then the session is over. Naturally, I tried to keep the speed up. I did slow down knowing it was raining on my visor, but it still snapped on me and then I had to try and keep it out of the wall, going offline.

“I had to take the gravel which ripped the floor apart. Missed quite a few bits on the car, even though the team did do quite a good job in trying to recover some of the bits and trying to optimise the balance front to rear – that basically ruined our qualifying.

“I was happy to be in Q3 with the damage that we had, and to be P4 is probably a bit of a positive surprise.”

While Red Bull worked on repairs to the floor, Verstappen said that the aero balance kept changing – which made it difficult for him to find consistency prior to a final Q3 lap that got him on to the second row.

Asked about that final effort, he said: “It was still not bad. I had a little moment at Turn 4 but honestly, they kept on repairing the floor, so the balance was shifting every lap.

“I was changing things on my wheel every lap to try and find a better compromise. So probably, in some bits, we tipped it over the edge to compensate but it was still a good lap.

“I tried to push it to the limit, tried to really use the track wherever I could because naturally in the high-speed, the load wasn’t there, and I was going slower in some corners compared to practice. But yeah, it was the best we could do with that damage, I think.”

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